By ZACK KELBERMAN
(247SPORTS) – An apparent disconnect is forming between those who represent the Denver Broncos and those who represent Von Miller.
The fuse was lit Monday as general manager John Elway delivered his year-end address in the wake of head coach Vance Joseph’s dismissal. Elway was asked about Miller’s performance this season and whether he’d consider trading the franchise cornerstone.
“I think we’re going to visit all that,” Elway responded. “I think we have to look all the possibilities and get an evaluation of that. One thing that has to happen is we have to play better. Our great players have to play better too. Again, when we’re going around and trying to assess blame—which we don’t, we’re trying to find solutions not assess blame. We’re trying to evaluate what went on and then find solutions. One of the solutions is that we’re going to need our core guys to play better. Von, he had a good year this year. Can Von play better? Yeah, I think Von can play better. That’s part of the new thing when that comes in with the next coach.”
Rather than typical “coachspeak,” his answer has been interpreted — and, thanks to the power of social media, circulated — as Miller being on his way out, following in the footsteps of recent Denver castoffs T.J. Ward, Aqib Talib, C.J. Anderson and Demaryius Thomas.
It’s like the dress meme; either you see it or you don’t.
Miller’s mother, Gloria, does. And she took to Instagram to send an emotionally pointed message to Elway: Look in the mirror.
“Not because he’s my son but, he’s the main reason Denver won the Super Bowl,” she wrote. “Von’s NOT the problem the problem is Elway…EVERY QB he’s brought in was a fluke!! He want’s to halfass pay the vets but wants them to perform at a high caliber. He has no clue on drafting at any position. He needs to work on a offensive line & QB. Trading Von isn’t the answer but best of luck with that. Elway has wasted more money on QB’s than ANY TEAM IN THE NFL. I get it’s easier to blame Von but it’s NOT HIM. #WhatupDallas #SendJerryJobysNumber”
The Instagram post is private but has been screen-captured for posterity.
Miller finished his eighth NFL season with 14.5 sacks, fifth-most in the league, and earned his seventh-career Pro Bowl selection. On Friday, he was named a second-team All-Pro at edge rusher and linebacker by the Associated Press.
Speaking Monday morning, prior to Elway’s press conference, Miller admitted his output fell short of the desired goal.
“I hate feeling like I could’ve done more, but that’s definitely the truth,” he said. “I could’ve made definitely some big-time plays and maybe we wouldn’t be here talking about new head coaches and coordinators. That’s something that I battle with. I could’ve done more and that’s definitely what I feel like. I could’ve always done more and it’s a good thing because I’ve got another shot at it next year to do more—not only on the football field but in the locker room and as a leader.”
Miller signed a six-year, $114.5 million contract extension with the Broncos in 2016, ending months of contentious negotiations with Elway after capturing the Super Bowl 50 MVP award. He’s set to make $17 million in non-guaranteed base salary in 2019, with a $25.125 million salary cap number — 13.2 percent of Denver’s total cap.
Trading Miller prior to June 1 of the new league year would facilitate a $19.375 dead money hit while saving $5.750 million. A deal done post-June 1 saves $17.5 million, with $7.625 million in dead cap.